Guiding question: Why grade practice work? When does it help a student’s grade, and when does it hurt?

Part 1:

Tariq doesn’t really like to do practice work, but he can usually see how it helps him complete tasks in class and on assessments. He does it most of the time, but sometimes forgets or decides he doesn’t need any more practice. So far this year, he’s been able to show proficient understanding or slightly better on most assessments.

Komal always finishes her practice work early. Sometimes during class, she sees a connection between the tasks she’s doing and the practice work. If she doesn’t understand the topic completely, she goes back and works through the practice assignment again. Even after all of this hard work, Komal struggles to show her understanding on assessments, usually showing approaching understanding or just squeaking by with proficiency.

Leah likes math, but she doesn’t always enjoy practice work. If an assignment is too easy, she doesn’t finish it. She prefers assignments about topics she doesn’t know yet, so that she can learn something new. Leah usually shows above proficient understanding on assessments.

Salman isn’t really into practice work. He’s very busy with football and plays guitar in a band, so he usually only gets to his assignments when he doesn’t have anything else going on. He usually tries to participate in class, but he’s much more focused on other things. Most of Salman’s work on assessments shows understanding approaching proficiency.

Tariq, Komal, Leah, and Salman are all based on students I’ve worked with before or work with now. Investigate each student and, using what you know about my grading system, decide if grading practice work will benefit her or him.

Part 2:

Using your investigation of these four specific students, come up with a general statement answering the question: “Is grading practice work beneficial for students?” In what case does it help the most? In what case does it hurt the most? In what case does it further my ultimate goal, which is to make grades reflect the level of understanding of my students?

Part 3:

What kind of math student are you? Write an honest description, and decide if grading practice work is beneficial for you. Justify your response by calculating how much homework helped or hurt your grade in the first quarter.